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Veteran Indiana blind climbs the world’s tallest mountain



Dugger, Indiana – It’s a difficult task to climb the world’s tallest mountain, but it’s considerably more difficult when you’re blind.

“I’m a little nervous, but I’m truly trying to stay as emotionally neutral as I can,” said Lonnie Bedwell, of Wabash Valley, Indiana.

This adventurer is quite familiar with controlling his nerves. He has kayaked the rapids of the Colorado River. And even climbed Mount Denali, the highest peak in the U.S.

Although Bedwell enjoys pushing himself to the maximum, climbing Mount Everest was never truly on his to-do list. He lost his sight in a hunting accident in 1997.

“I truly didn’t have a desire to do it to begin with,” said Bedwell, laughing.

Then, though, he got two calls: one from a fellow climber and the other was from the Blind Veterans Association, asking him to speak up for and inspire other injured veterans.

“We’re hoping to truly let people believe in themselves and each other and what’s really possible out there and expand the limits of what people consider disabled,” Bedwell said.

Bedwell, who spent nine years in the Navy before joining the Army National Guard, has been prepared as a result. He frequently exercised for many hours each day, six days a week, for nine months. He rode an indoor bike, climbed stairs on a stair climber he borrowed from the VA, and jogged.

“And then I spend lots of time doing burpees and squats, squats, squats,” Bedwell laughed again.

And right now, he’s overcoming his hardest obstacle to date. On April 6, he began his ascent with a group of other climbers and a sighted guide.

He’s also encouraging others to do the same, whether they have impairments or not.

“You can still do so much more than you think you can,” said Bedwell. “And life is still worth living, and go out and do it.”

The voyage of Bedwell is being documented on Facebook and Sightless Summits. Those who want to monitor his progress in real time can also access data from his personal monitoring device.